Blackjack Tournaments

Blackjack tournaments are a great alternative to traditional blackjack. If you like poker tournaments and the premise that you’ll play against your peers instead of the dealer, you should consider giving blackjack tournaments a shot. This article will explain everything you need to know to get started.

What are Blackjack Tournaments?

Blackjack tournaments are a mix of traditional blackjack and poker tournaments. Just like a poker tournament, you buy-in once for a set number of chips. Then you sit down to play.

Blackjack tournaments are usually played over several short rounds. Unlike a poker tournament where the length of each round is determined by minutes, each round in blackjack tournaments is determined by a number of hands — usually 20-30. Once the hands have been played, the round is over.

Once the round is over the winners are determined by the number of chips they have — the more, the better. Blackjack tournaments use an elimination format, so the top (two) chip earners will advance, and everyone else will be out of the tournament. Players that lose all of their chips will be out of the tournament, too. They can’t re-buy for more chips. The top players will be paid, according to the number of players that entered and the tournament structure.

Types of Blackjack Tournaments

Blackjack tournaments are played in one of the following 3 formats:

Heads Up: This format is played with two players over the course of 10 rounds. The player with the most chips wins (winner takes all).

Sit n Go: A blackjack sng tournament is played with 3-6 players over 10 rounds. The top two players will receive a payout.

Blackjack MTT: Larger blackjack MTTs (multi-table tournaments) can have as many as 30-100+ players. For example, a typical tournament might look like this:

  • First round – 102 entries seated at 17 tables. 68 players are eliminated.
  • Second round – 34 players left seated at 5 tables. 24 players are eliminated.
  • Third round – 10 players seated at 2 tables. 6 players are eliminated.
  • Fourth round – Final tables. 4 players play until a winner is declared.

Each tournament will vary, in regards to length and payout, on the number of players entered.

Blackjack Tournament FAQs

Can I play blackjack tournaments for fake money?

Not in a brick and mortar casino, no. However, many online casinos provide "freerolls," which are blackjack tournaments that have no buy-in. Sometimes these freerolls have real money prizes that the casino puts up, and other times you just play for free money credits.

Where can I find blackjack tournaments?

Everywhere. We have several casinos listed on this page that offer blackjack tournaments. I recommend reading our reviews to find the casino that has the games, promotions and banking methods that will work for you. If you’re a US player you’ll want to find a US accepting (blackjack tournament) casino.

Why should I play in a blackjack tournament?

For a couple of reasons:

  • Instead of playing against the house you’re playing against other players. That removes any disadvantage you may have and creates an even level playing field.
  • Tournaments are easier on your bankroll. All you stand to lose is your buy-in. In exchange, you get hours of entertainment and, if you win, a nice chunk of change.

How much can I win playing blackjack tournaments?

That depends on a number of factors like the buy-in, number of players and the payout structure. But you could buy in for $10 and be in the running for a $500 first place prize, or $1,000 buy-in and a 6 or 7-figure score. It just depends.

What is the optimal strategy for blackjack tournaments?

Chip management plays a big role in blackjack tournaments.

An optimal strategy is similar to poker – do the opposite of your opponents. If your opponent is betting small, it might make more sense to take a risk and bet big to get ahead of them (in the chip count). On the other hand, if they are betting big and taking risks, it might make more sense to bet small until the last few hands and then start betting big to catch up and hopefully pass the field.

How do they determine which players act first each round or hand?

Blackjack tournaments use a "button" just like they do in poker. Every hand the buttons moves one seat to the left. That player will go first.

Are there any downsides to playing blackjack tournaments?

A couple, yes. One downside is that the larger tournaments start at a scheduled time. So you might not be able to play because it conflicts with your own schedule. And two, a tournament runs until someone wins. It’s not like a cash game where you can get up, leave, and come back whenever you want. So you need to set aside an afternoon to play. The more entries there are the longer you should expect the tournament to last.